ISOLATION AND IDENTIFICATION OF BACTERIA FROM FOOD VENDORS
Hawked foods are cheap and easily accessible and have met the food needs of people in many cities and towns of developing countries. This study was aimed at ascertaining the diversity of microbial contaminants in foods hawked in Nsukka town. Seven different food samples of cooked foods hawked in Nsukka were examined for the presence of bacterial and fungal contaminants using streak plate method on sterile nutrient agar plates and SDA plates respectively. The foods included; pigeon pea with yam (ayarayaji), pigeon pea with maize (ayaraya oka), pigeon pea with cocoyam (achicha), bambara nut (okpa), rice and stew, maize meal (igbangwu) and maize meal (agidi jellof). Eighteen species of bacteria were isolated and identified using microbiological and biochemical methods. These were Staphylococcusaureus (n=1), Enterobacter aerogenes (n=1), Shigella dysenteriae (n=1), Bacillus spp. (n=12) and Bacillus megaterium (n=3). Ten species of fungi were also isolated and identified. They include Candida spp. (n=7) and Aspergillus spp. (3). The most predominant isolates were Bacillus spp. and Candida spp. All the bacterial isolates were sensitive to levofloxacin, gentamicin, erythromycin, amoxicillin, streptomycin and chloramphenicol. Six isolates were resistant to ampiclox, followed by rifampicin (5), ciprofloxacin (4), and norfloxacin (1). Staphylococcus auerus.,Enterobacter aerogenes and Shigella dysenteriae were sensitive to levofloxacin, ciprofloxacin, norfloxacin, gentamicin, amoxicillin, streptomycin, rifampicin, erythromycin, and chloramphenicol. The fungal isolates were all sensitive to itraconazole. One of the fungal isolates was resistant to ketoconazole, four were resistant to fluconazole and five to griseofulvin. Eighty percent of the isolates were resistant to nystatin. The multiple antibiotic resistance indices were low for all the antimicrobial agents used (antibacterial and antifungal). MAR indices of six of the fungal contaminants were high, indicating that the organisms have originated from environment where antibiotics were often used. The Aspergillus species were examined using Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) for resistant gene MDR3 and CYP51. Result showed that the Aspergillus species had the resistant gene MDR3 in them. The result of this study revealed that cooked foods hawked in Nsukka town are contaminated with both bacteria and fungi. These organisms showed sensitivity and resistance activities to the antimicrobial agent used. Ready to eat foods hawked in Nsukka also harbor multidrug resistance food borne bacteria and fungi which might cause public health hazards if these antibiotics resistance organisms are transferred to human.